The Grand Hotel by Scott Kenemore, Narrated by Christian Rummel

Scott Kenemore’s The Grand Hotel takes us on a tour that leads us from one tragic tale of horror to another, each with its nuanced cast of characters and captivating narrative. As the sinister desk clerk guides the tour group through the halls of the hotel, he also nudges us from one long-term guest’s fantastic and unbelievable story to another. Reminiscent of Tales from the Crypt, if the Cryptkeeper were more somber and the crypt was a massive antiquated hotel, there’s a hidden truth embedded within each new story.
When the tour group finds their way into the seemingly abandoned hotel, they’re shocked to be greeted by a peculiar and chilling night clerk welcoming them to The Grand Hotel. More shocking is the tour of the ancient building, the introduction to various residents and employees, and the stories he prompts them to share with the unwitting guests.
Kenemore’s gradual revelation of the truth behind the hotel and its temperamental host is delivered smoothly, without coming across as forced or spoon-fed to the reader. Each of the individual tales incorporated into the overall narrative is distinctly voiced and unique from the others, making it feel all the more authentic. With the tour group, we get to experience tales of police detectives tormented by a haunted house, the tragic first manned mission to Mars, a naive dance student’s first experience with love and betrayal, and so much more.
Christian Rummel’s narration perfectly suits the voice of our host while also conveying the necessary separation for the other characters in the book. Upon completion, I’m not sure I could imagine a different voice for Vic.

Wishmaster: The Novelization by Christian Francis, Narrated by Sean Duregger

The novelization of Wishmaster verifies something for me that I’ve long suspected to be true. While I own it, and I’m able to enjoy it for what it is, I never cared for the 1997 movie altogether too much. It just felt all too cheesy and poorly put together, like it was building on the worst aspects of the Nightmare On Elm Street series. It wasn’t the story that was the problem–I now know for sure–because I thoroughly enjoyed this novelization based on the screenplay.
From the tumultuous devastation in ancient Persia to the symmetrical horrors of the climax at Beaumont’s party, the descriptions from the narrative–and the visions elicited in my imagination–were far superior to what was executed on the screen under Robert Kurtzman’s direction. While the casting choices for the movie weren’t bad, Andrew Divoff being a particularly fantastic choice, most of the decisions seemed to be less focused on who would be right for the role and more aimed at drawing in a preexisting audience from other intellectual properties. The absence of performers who felt shoehorned into their roles also made for a better experience through the novelization.
It was enjoyable, following along as an ancient evil was set loose in a modern city, a city unprepared for a creature of magic and malevolence like the djinn.
Sean Duregger’s narration was excellent. He especially captured the demonic tone and texture of the djinn’s voice, both in its natural form and in the guise of Nathaniel Demerest. He had some pretty impressive shoes to fill, lending his voice work to a character originally played by Andrew Divoff, but he managed to pull it off successfully. Additionally, with a movie that had been narrated by Angus Scrimm (the Tall Man himself), Duregger was biting off a lot more than most would dareā€¦but again, he did it, and he did it justice. There’s a reason he’s steadily become one of my favorite audiobook narrators.